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Financial Update

November 30th, 2008 at 08:33 am

I got my gas bill and it was only $15. I was trying to beat $22, from last November.

Well, we accomplished this, BUT the bill ended 5 days sooner this year - on the 25th - for whatever reason. So it wasn't very comparable. I think we turned on the heat on the 24th. (It was a 30-day bill, but earlier in the season by a few days. Which could make all the difference).

Then again, we didn't host Thanksgiving last year so I cringed at all the cooking, laundry, hot water, etc. was used/done on Thanksgiving. Not sure it will help my next bill.

The number to beat for December is $75.
(Just trying to improve on last year).

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I updated my totals to the left.

I just hit $2500 again in my savings account, after posting November interest of about $25. Woohoo.

I don't expect it to hold through 12/31. We have to hire someone to fix our gutters next week.

We saved $4200 this year (close to our $5k goal) but spent $1700 on stuff around the house. My goal was to save $5k BEFORE we started catching up on stuff. But broken computers and fridges had other plans. & then I figured what the heck, and started getting caught up on stuff around the house. (Stuff like thermal drapes). So failed spectacularly on my goal, but am not too upset about it. Still moving forward.

It's kind of amazing how things work out. We haven't saved up any money for stuff around the house in years. Low priority since dh stopped working and such. & things have been okay. Nothing broke around the house when we were broke. But this year we start saving for household stuff again and next thing you know we have thousands in unexpected bills. Kind of annoying, but just glad we had the cash for it all. Looking back we had a few lucky years, so it was bound to catch up with us at some point.

My goal is $5k to this fund in 2009. I hope to still have $5k in this fund come 12/31/09. About 50% funded by overtime and interest, and 50% funded by savings. So makes our goal to spend $2500 on home repairs in 2009 (expected) and have $5k going forward. If I get a bigger raise than expected, or any windfalls, this is likely where it would all go. So I would love to make a higher goal. But $5k is rather realistic at this point.

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I don't expect to add any more to retirement this year. So looks like we will hit 12% again. Mostly funded by employer. Goal is 14% for next year. Goal is 20% by 2010. (10% us & 10% employer). So, not hitting it too heavy in 2009. Just trying to move forward. 2010 should be an easy year to divert preschool tuition to retirement.

I'd probably rather focus more on cash savings at this point, BUT with the market so low, we want to take advantage and add more to our retirement next year.

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Mortgage - we paid off about $3800 this last year. Next year we will pay closer to $4500. Just regular payments, but considering adding $20/month next year.

It's starting to make a dent!

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I haven't looked at our net worth, but Quicken tells us most of our investments are down 30% - 50%. Eh. I'll look 12/31. It won't be pretty!

I depreciated our cars by $4500 this year. I figured since our net worth was in the toilet anyway... A good time to take the hit.

Depreciated dh's car by $500, to $2500. Could probably get $3k-$4k easy for it, the way gas prices have been. (It actually appreciated this year; it gets 40mpg freeway). But I figured to depreciate $500/year going forward. Fair enough. Rather aim conservative.

The gas guzzling van? Plummeted in value this year when gas prices were high. I estimated $12k last year (which is about what we paid for the thing in 2006). BUT I saw them going for $8k when we briefly considered dumping it ourselves. I am sure value has gone back up a bit, but gas prices can also shoot up again. So I figured I'd take the big depreciation hit this year. Will continue to depreciate that one about $1k/year, going forward.

Since the van is like half of my emergency fund (well, was) I tend to keep an eye on prices. So yeah, needless to say I was shocked to see it going for $8k for a time. Yeesh. A big depreciation hit for 2008, for sure.

& with gas prices rock bottom, I am currently glad we didn't dump it. Ask me again later...

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Short-term savings...

I looked at the last year to see where things landed. We have been saving $1k/month. $12k/year.

This is for known, regular, larger expenses (or for anything that's not monthly and regular). So I already know what this adds up to for 2008 - have received all the 2008 bills by this point.

Ended up spending about $13,500 from this fund in 2008:

$4595 Property Tax
$3545 Insurance (Auto, Life, Disability, Home, etc.)
$1550 Vacation
$1225 Dentist (regular checkups)
$1200 Car Maintenance/Repairs
$1300 Misc.

We will probably receive $1k for Christmas to plump up this fund a bit for 2009. Will add $12k again. (I figure we will add another $100/month come 2010, when we have more wiggle room).

Expect property taxes to be about the same next year. (California assesses very differently than most areas - based on purchase price - not volatile market values. So no chance of a decrease next year. It's based on January 1 and values overall are still higher than our assessed value. Not like prices will decrease dramatically by January 1).

Our auto insurance continues to decrease, as well as a lot of our disability and life insurance. BUT our flood insurance is going up something like $500 next year. I think it will all about even out.

Vacation - our plans for 2009 are well within $1500.

Dentist - will go up a bit since LM is now going every 6 months.

Car Repairs - a little more this year than usual, but dh's car is getting pretty old (near 100k miles and though it has pretty much never had any repairs, it is a cheapie car and we expect a lot more upkeep in the coming years), and my car just plain sucks. Always taking it in for door locks and windows and stupid stuff like that. So I expect the same or more next year.

Misc. - where we have room to work with. We put a lot of stuff here when we were squeezed by the cost of 2 in preschool. I think our monthly budget will cover more of this stuff in 2009.

So, will contribute $1k monthly for 2009 and will consider $1100 monthly in 2010.

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So yeah, just kind of an overall roundup for 2008.

Not a great year, but I am happy to be moving forward. Particularly in this economy.

3 Responses to “Financial Update”

  1. scfr Says:

    It's been awhile since I checked Kelly Blue Book for an updated value on our car. I should do that. Thanks for the reminder. Of course it will be down, but thankfully it's just a small portion of our net worth.

  2. swimgirl Says:

    I think you can contact your county in California and ask for a review of your house's value. If prices are plummeting in your area, it can be worth the time to file the form.

    And the car repairs stink. We're in the same boat. BUT we're not making payments like so many people we know!

  3. monkeymama Says:

    The home values haven't gone down below our assessed value (or near it), so there is no point for now.
    Something to keep an eye out for January 2010, for us.

    OF course, I rather things bounce back. Big Grin

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